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Vacation Bible School?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My son is 3 and I am planning on homeschooling him. A friend of mine at Church asked if I'm planning on signing up my son for vacation bible school this year. She says it's lots of fun, and she's teaching the younger kids (so she'll be teaching my son). She also says I can come and hang out too if I want.


I'm not sure what to do. I'm not planning on sending my son to school, so my first reaction would be why send him to this? But then it sounds like it could be fun. But preschool sounds fun too, and I'm not planning on sending him to that.


Do homeschoolers send their kids to vacation bible schools? Or do they just teach them this stuff on their own.


Do you think I should send my son?

post #2 of 16

I plan on sending my kids. I see it as a social opportunity. If it's part of your religious beliefs, I think it's a good thing. Them having other teachers in life (not just in school settings) can help them grow, IMO.  I do teach my kids their religion. Did before we decided to homeschool. I think religion comes from home and Sunday School/VBS is just  away to let them be around those who believe the same. Like a homeschool Co-op I guess.

post #3 of 16

Having helped out at our church's VBS a number of times, my advice would be: Don't send a 3 year old to VBS! Most of them, even the ones who've been in preschool, aren't really ready to spend 3 hours in an environment where they don't yet know their teachers and they keep moving from thing to thing with new people in charge. Many are fine, but a few just sob until we call the parents.


If it's a social/religious thing, I'd wait until 4-5. That's the age when peer interaction starts to become more interesting.

post #4 of 16

Yeah, not a preschooler.  Mine had a lot of fun but not until about age 6.  Songs and crafts and stories and snacks.

post #5 of 16

I think if you send a 3yo or not is really a matter of what type of child you have.  My DD did great at 4yo going with a friend, and she was a very reserved kid in new situations.  And your child will havea familiar teacher and you can stay too?  I don't see the age thing as being an issue at all.


As far as do homeschoolers send their kids to VBS - sure.  There are a lot of different reasons why people homeschool, and unless it is to protect a child from diseases or to intentionally isolate a child I don't personally see why a homeschooling family would eschew a VBS that promotes their same belief system.


Yes, I teach my kids this stuff on my own, but so do non-homeschooling families. VBS is generally really fun.  A great way to learn some, make friends, and spend a week.



post #6 of 16

We don't do vbs but I am not opposed to short classes in general for my kids. The place we are vacationing at right now offers a variety of 1 hour or so classes and my kids have done them. We stay with them, which they require at least for the little ones. 

post #7 of 16

I grew up going to Sunday school and VBS (and we're strong Christians now too) but to be honest, I don't think kids actually "learn" anything in these classes--it's more about doing some kitschy crafts, learning some songs, and maybe making some new friends.  At 3, I doubt he'd get anything out of it, but that's just my opinion.  We let dd go to a few days of VBS last year at age 5 but only because my mom was teaching it. I think the younger the child the less good it will do, and there's a lot of stress keeping the kids on track and doing their crafts/stories, which may be stressful to a young child whose not accustomed to that kind of environment (and what I mean, is not used to having to line up, go potty at certain times, walk with their fingers over their lips, etc.).  Our daughter is 6 and we do our Bible/Christian-living learning at home and she participates in adult worship each week (she even helps take the offering!).

post #8 of 16

It's a lot like summer camp. wonderful and terrific but like other posters said likely not for a 3 year old. Now if you accompanied him everyday and was involved that might be a really great opportunity for both of you. I wouldn't send a pre-ker of to camp VBS alone though.

post #9 of 16

I've ran VBS before and I can say that for younger than 5 its usually glorifed babysitting. But most grade-school kids LOVE it. Most are a rotation between Music (Christian Worship usually, with fun movements and such), games, crafts, and some sort of small group bible Lesson. 


Most of them have all the kids together for the first part and last part, all age groups in a huge room doing music and an intro of some sort to the theme of the day "Jesus is my friend" or "Be kind to you Parents" or something like that. Then the break off into groups based on age and go though the rotation most of the rooms modify the activity slightly for each age group. 


Most of the activites are very directed, as in the kids are doing what they are told and that's pretty much it... Also it is very very Christian, so I know some non-religious people use it as free daycare. 


More and more churches are offering free sports camps instead of VBS so they appeal to the community at large instead of VBS. Those are almost ALL sports with some free play. 

post #10 of 16

We don't really have  VBS but my child attends Sunday school classes during the school year. We teach her both academics and her religion at home but its nice for soem things to get reinforced in her Sunday school class.. Plus it is a social oppurnuity and in some cases a requirement to complete soem of her sacrements. 


I'm not sure if I'd do it at 3 unless I just wanted the sitting service but by Kinder and up sure..

post #11 of 16

Yeah, VBS is nothing like school...it's all songs and crafts and games and stories.  I used to teach the preschool/kindy group (for 4 years...this year we'll be out of the state so I'll miss it).  My homeschool kids go to VBS (but they also go to religious education and co-op classes...just because they're homeschooled doesn't mean I won't send them to classes. :) )


That being said, I've had one and only one 3 year old in my group--my OWN child (because she wouldn't stay with a sitter).  Three is pretty young for VBS and as a preschool-kindy VBS leader, I wouldn't have liked a 3 year old in the group because it's just not set up for kids that  young (we didn't have a separate babysitting program--our preschool-kindy kids did everything the grade school kids did).  I limited my group to kindergartners and potty trained preschoolers who were one year before kindergarten (so basically 4-6 year olds).  Most 3 year olds won't get anything out of it and either you'll be there the entire time or it's just babysitting at that age...


(Truth be told, any time we have a 3 year old, or even a very young 4, it's so that the parents volunteer at the VBS program.  So, it's like an incentive to get more parent volunteers. LOL!)

post #12 of 16

We love VBS!  Our church does a one day VBS- which is awesome because we live almost an hour from our church and I would not make the drive everyday.  But my kids also get to go to VBS at a different church that is like 5 miles from us (which I debated on because we do NOT share the beliefs of this church- but I figured they shouldn't really be teaching church doctrine at VBS anyway).  They loved it!  All the kids in town go to that one- and they knew some of them and I had a 3 hour break too!  That said- last year I sent my oldest 2, and this year I will still only send the older 2- my 3 yo would just be too much.  It would be too much for the teachers and too much for him.  If I help at our churches VBS this year I will let my 3 yo come- but that is the only way (I don't really plan on helping this year though since I will have a newborn- and even in a sling- a newborn just isn't helpful...)  When I did help though- I noticed that there were no set potty breaks... so as you can imagine- it was nuts and I spent about the last hour taking 3-4 yos to the bathroom cause it was obvious that they had to go- like hours ago....

post #13 of 16

Iowaorganic...that depends on the teacher.  When I taught the 3-6 year olds, we had a potty break once an hour at the end of every activity so that I didn't have to spend time during the activities taking them. :)

post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

Iowaorganic...that depends on the teacher.  When I taught the 3-6 year olds, we had a potty break once an hour at the end of every activity so that I didn't have to spend time during the activities taking them. :)

Oh I think it was probably just our church- when I spoke with our youth pastor about it- he had no idea that little kids need to be offered a potty break almost all the time :)  

post #15 of 16

Homeschooling doesn't mean you teach everything to your child all the time an don't use outside teachers or classes.  Many of the homeschooled kids I know  go to some sort of vacation bible school.  My kids haven't yet (for a variety of reasons...due to scheduling, driving distance, cost, etc.) but they have taken part in religious education classes through our church.


That said, I agree with others that said they probably wouldn't bother at age 3.  Of course a lot of it depends on the child, but at that age, none of my kids enjoyed group classes/activities or being with a bunch of strangers.   They didn't start to enjoy group activities like that until they were older..4-6. I think mostly people just send kids that young for the babysitting/daycare (either so the parent can get a break or because the parent is helping out).

post #16 of 16

My 3 year-old is on her 4th day of VBS and she loves it. It's the longest she's been away and certainly for more than a day in a row (Sunday school for example), but she really is having fun. This particular VBS is a preschool program and there are 3 3 year-old classes and 4 for 4s and the program is geared toward them so that may not be consistent wherever you are. It depends on the kid...

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